Zombie, San Francisco's invaluable photojournalist, is about the only "pro-choicer" we like. (We put pro-choicer in quotes because when you trace the position to first principles, it is in contradiction with itself). He understands, as we said yesterday, that the city's attack on crisis pregnancy centers is nothing more than a "nuisance lawsuit."
Here's Zombies take:
"Not aborting fetuses will soon be a crime in San Francisco.
At least that’s what the city government is pushing for in its bizarre new attack on pregnancy counseling centers.
Actually, 'bizarre' is too mild a word to describe San Francisco’s latest outburst; even from my pro-choice perspective, the city’s attempt to essentially banish any counseling center which doesn’t encourage or perform abortions is simply beyond belief."
Well, we can't agree with that. Nothing that happens in San Franciso politics is beyond belief. Anyway, Zombie then brings us to the point:
"Hold on just a moment. Everybody freeze. What exactly is 'First Resort' accused of doing wrong? Buying a Google ad? Let’s look at the specifics.
If you scour First Resort’s Web site, nowhere do they claim that they provide abortions, or even advocate for abortions. In fact, quite the opposite: they use various code words like 'values' and 'adoption' which make it pretty clear they’re coming from a 'keep the baby' perspective in their counseling.
So what’s the problem? San Francisco’s municipal government apparently had a conniption fit over the placement of First Resort’s Google ad. In particular, if you Google the words 'abortion' and 'San Francisco,' the very top result is a listing for the First Resort clinic.
Does the ad itself say that First Resort provides abortions? No. Does it even mention abortions? No. It just says 'First Resort – Unplanned Pregnancy.' Nothing more. But gosh darn it, the ad pops up if someone does a Google search!...
This could be a legal first. Has any other business or organization ever been sued over their Google search ranking? Because that’s what this is all about. Remember that neither First Resort’s Web site nor the ads linking to their Web site make any claims about providing abortions. No, the only basis for a 'false advertising claim' against them is not the content of their advertising, but the placement of it."
Zombie concludes (and remember, he is "pro-choice"):
"Here is the nightmare scenario that San Francisco is trying to prevent: A woman gets pregnant, isn’t sure whether or not she wants to keep the baby, does a Google search and blindly clicks on the top link simply because it’s at the top, ignores all the clues on the company’s Web site ('values,' etc.), goes in for an appointment — and (horrors!) the counselor she meets with convinces her to keep the baby, or even give it up for adoption, rather than 'terminating' it.
It’s quite obvious that the city simply wishes these kinds of 'values-based' counseling centers didn’t exist at all; but lacking any other way to legally boot them out of town, they latched onto the flimsy “false advertising” charge, simply as a method to drive them away (or underground) with nuisance lawsuits.
Remember, no one is accusing First Resort or the other centers of forcing anyone to not have an abortion. No, their only crime is to have 'values'-based conversations with pregnant women.
Like New York and Baltimore, I believe the city will lose this case. But that is not their point. As we said yesterday their point is using public money to harass crisis pregnancy centers. If they lose, who cares? You, the citizens of San Francisco, are paying for it. And they force First Resort, et al, to use resources that otherwise might go to helping pregnant women.